A year ago, plans were being formulated for a Fire Department Headquarters that could include a Youth Center and even a new Animal Shelter.
The complex was proposed for town-owned land on Putnam Avenue, and a request for proposals went out and attracted six responses.
"We interviewed the six applicants and were getting ready for round two," said Chief Administrative Officer Curt Leng, "but at that time there were a number of concerns about the quantity of work at that time and the issues coming to the surface" regarding the Police Department and Town Hall project, he said.
So the Fire Headquarters project was put on hold as the Police Department took precedent, and by the time the Memorial Town Hall project was near completion, the Fire Department had staked out office space there, which eliminated the need for the new headquarters, Leng said.
"They no longer need Putnam Avenue," he said. "Since then the fire chief and the support staff have more space in the Memorial Town Hall and can occupy space there."
Now, the town is ready to come back with a request for proposals for a smaller station to replace Station 2, Leng said. Building new at Putnam Avenue would cost less than the massive renovation work that would be needed at the Circular Avenue building to bring it up to code.
But in the meantime, work will be done there, and much of it at no cost to the town. The Northford Honeywell Employee Club, in conjunction with Honeywell Hometown Solutions and Rebuilding Together, is donating its time and materials do to much of the work at the station and is arranging for more work to be done beyond what it is doing, Leng said.
There will be interior improvements completed, including replacing the boiler and tanks, and other work that will make the station safer and more livable, Leng said.
And after the new station opens on Putnam Avenue, the old Circular Avenue building could be reused for a number of possibilities, Leng said, including library expansion, Parks and Recreation use or expansion of the Keefe Center.
"We have several options we are looking at," he said, "which is why we are putting money into it but not rebuilding it as new."
"My concern is we don't see the growth of abandoned buildings in that area," said council member Austin Cesare.
"The town needs space," Leng said. "If it hadn't been so expensive, the old Middle School would have been reused."